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Man sentenced for targeting homes displaying Palestinian flags

|News, Hate crime

A man who admitted damaging cars and a garden wall in Prestwich after seeing Palestinian flags displayed in windows has been sentenced today at Manchester Magistrates' court.

Elliott Kersh, 60, from Prestwich, scratched a car parked outside a house in Prestwich on numerous occasions between October and December 2023.

On 26 October the BMW had been scratched from the front, along the side and to the rear.

The following day the owners discovered further scratches on the back and bumper of the car. Over the following weeks further damage was caused to the car. By 6 December every panel, except the bonnet, had deep scratches on it.

Meanwhile on a nearby road, Kersh spray painted a garden wall and spray painted and scratched the bonnet of a VW Golf overnight between 6 and 7 December.

Both homeowners had Palestinian flags in their windows.

Kersh had carried out the damage whilst on late night walks with his dog. Some of the offences were captured on CCTV.

In police interview Kersh made a full admission to damaging the two cars, as well as the garden wall. However, he claimed he was not racist and had only committed the offences because he found the Palestinian flags both offensive and intimidating.

At his first appearance in Manchester Magistrates' Court in December, he pleaded guilty to three charges of racially aggravated criminal damage. Today he was sentenced to a 12-month Community Order with 15 Rehabilitation Days and the court imposed a 12 month Restraining Order. To reflect the hate crime aspect of the offences, the court also ordered him to carry out 60 hours unpaid work.

Joseph Seale, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West, said: "Elliott Kersh has caused considerable upset and fear by deliberately targeting property belonging to homeowners who had Palestinian flags displayed in their windows.

"The CPS take incidents of hate crime very seriously and we are dedicated to bringing perpetrators to justice, which is why we asked the court to apply an uplift to Kersh's sentence to reflect the racial aggravation of the offences he committed.

"Everyone has the right to exercise peaceful freedom of expression without fearing they will be targeted." 

Notes to editors

Elliott Kersh's D.O.B. is 18/01/1960.

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